Engineers know that nothing is truly unbreakable in this world, even a superior product. Anything can be broken when subjected to enough impact, force, harsh environments, and loading cycles. So, who when would a product break and who is to blame?
Mechanical failure analysis and consulting are meant to analyze failure to identify its cause. Failure analysts use different methods which tend to vary in approach. If you have a product failure, performing a failure analysis will provide you with the following benefits:
Identify the Root Cause of Failure
It is important to know why your product failed. Is it because of a design flaw that prevented it from doing its intended function? Or is it due to a manufacturing or material defect? Perhaps the product as abused or misused or has exceeded its useful life.
Inspecting the product, its environment, and fracture surfaces allows experienced failure analysts to gather evidence and observations needed for making conclusions regarding the cause of failure. In terms of mechanical system failures, the analyst will usually use visual inspection, different metallurgical tests, and microscopy to gather evidence. They may even try to re-create the failure in a controlled environment.
After determining the root cause of the product’s failure, analysts may establish a corrective action plan to prevent a recurrence of the same product failure. Common root causes include design deficiency, material defect, manufacturing defect, abuse or misuse, and product exceed its useful life.
Produce Better Products and Improve Processes
By understanding the cause of a product failure, businesses can produce better versions of the product or other products. Doing a failure analysis on one product allows them to learn something about their design process, manufacturing, process, material properties, and actual service conditions. This will prevent costly legal action or replacements as well as protect the company’s reputation.
Prevent Financial Losses and Penalties
Failure can cost a business a fortune, whether due to expensive outages, legal action, or production interruptions. Performing failure analysis can prevent these issues and possible failures from happening in the future.
Failure mode and effects analysis can be helpful in meeting standards for manufacturing processes, failed components, assets, or products going forward. It ensures compliance with the regulatory requirements.
Identify Failure Liability
Aside from determining the cause of the failure, a failure analysis may assign liability for the failure. Such liability can be used in legal proceedings to apportion blame and protect a business from litigation.